Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Dimly Lit Thanksgiving

Our overweening faith and confidence in our wealth and power make this a dimly lit Thanksgiving.

A public expression of gratitude by victorious sports stars, lottery winners, etc. is now the convention in America: coaches, teammates, family and mentors (or agents) are recognized as an expression of the winners' humility and gratitude for everyone that contributed to the success.

As sincere as each individual's gratitude may be, there's something forced and phony about this public ritual of virtue-signaling that has transformed it into an empty cliche. There are various drivers of this ritual--we like our heroes to be humble--but it may also be the result of our increasingly winner take most economy: as the winners are boosted into the orbit of wealth and influence, placating everyone still bound by gravity with platitudes dissipates the envy and rancor that results from such immense asymmetries.

The same can be said of public thanksgiving platitudes in general. We're thankful for the vaccines and the trillions of dollars in new stimulus that will soon flood the land, for these will usher in the final defeat of our invisible foe, Covid-19. Is this actually gratitude or is it just a veiled expression of hubristic confidence in the overwhelming power of our technology and money?

There are three fatal strategic mistakes one can make:

1. Overestimate one's own powers.

2. Underestimate one's vulnerabilities.

3. Underestimate one's foe.

I suspect we're doing all three.

I recently expressed my worries for the nation to a correspondent. His reply was thought-provoking:

I know you may be nervous about the coming 5 months, but I'd say don't. Collapse is inevitable but doesn't have to be unsurvivable. I've always thought it better to live with purpose and what better way then to pass on to my children skills and survival techniques as we pass through the fires of change.

You might assume this correspondent is just another doom-and-gloomer in a remote log cabin. He is not. He is a physician in an overwhelmed Covid ward, dealing with more death than he's seen in his entire medical career, watching the most experienced nurses quit due to exhaustion with the workload and with a hospital administration that blames the nurses for every shortcoming and takes credit for every small victory.

I find wisdom in his response. It is the wisdom of recognition of fate, or destiny, of a long-put off reckoning finally coming to fruition, a reckoning we cannot put off with our vaunted technology and money-printing which we worship as the ultimate powers in the Universe.

Our overweening faith and confidence in our wealth and power make this a dimly lit Thanksgiving. We seek an evasion or an excuse from any reckoning, for deep down we feel it is our birthright to taste victory and prosperity without the bitterness of a reckoning of our hubris, greed and corruption.

The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote a short commentary on The Sermon on the Mount, The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air. This passage speaks to the reckoning ahead:

...for the child understands the frightful truth that there is no evasion or excuse, there is no hiding place, neither in heaven or on earth, neither in the parlor or the garden.

I am also reminded of Chapter 58 of the Tao Te Ching:

When the country is governed through simplicity and leniency,
The people are genuine and honest.
When the country is governed through harshness and sharp investigation,
The people are more deceitful and dishonest.


And Chapter 9:

To hold things and to be proud of them is not as good as not to have them,
Because if one insists on an extreme, that extreme will not dwell long.
When a room is full of precious things, one will never be able to preserve them.
When one is wealthy, high ranking, and proud of himself, he invites misfortune.




If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.

My new book is available! A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts (Kindle $7, print $17)

Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF).

The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.



Recent Podcasts:

The Frustrations of Unfairness Are Reaching a Boiling Point

AxisofEasy Salon #31: The Covid Episode (1 hr)


My COVID-19 Pandemic Posts


My recent books:

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook coming soon) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 (Kindle), $10 (print), ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 (Kindle), $8.95 (print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 (Kindle), $15 (print) Read the first section for free (PDF).



Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Eric H. ($10/month), for your outrageously generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

 

Thank you, Alan P. ($12), for your most generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Terms of Service

All content on this blog is provided by Trewe LLC for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at anytime and without notice.


Our Privacy Policy:


Correspondents' email is strictly confidential. This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by a third-party advertising network (Investing Channel) may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative). If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly. Websites and blog links on the site's blog roll are posted at my discretion.


PRIVACY NOTICE FOR EEA INDIVIDUALS


This section covers disclosures on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for users residing within EEA only. GDPR replaces the existing Directive 95/46/ec, and aims at harmonizing data protection laws in the EU that are fit for purpose in the digital age. The primary objective of the GDPR is to give citizens back control of their personal data. Please follow the link below to access InvestingChannel’s General Data Protection Notice. https://stg.media.investingchannel.com/gdpr-notice/


Notice of Compliance with The California Consumer Protection Act


This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by a third-party advertising network (Investing Channel) may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising. If you do not want any personal information that may be collected by third-party advertising to be sold, please follow the instructions on this page: Do Not Sell My Personal Information


Regarding Cookies:


This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by third-party advertising networks such as Investing Channel may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative) If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly.


Our Commission Policy:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn a commission on purchases of precious metals via BullionVault. I receive no fees or compensation for any other non-advertising links or content posted on my site.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP